Plastics improved the convenience of everyday life but also have been blamed for environment pollutions. Plastics are made of polymers which motivates polymer researchers to reverse the environment effect of plastics by developing polymers from nature-based sources. Today’s talks will cover our efforts on creating environment-friendly polymers that can be used for biomedical applications and for rechargeable batteries. Honokiol is a highly functional phenolic natural product isolated from magnolia barks that has been used as traditional medicine in Asia for centuries. Poly(honokiol carbonate) was synthesized from honokiol using condensation polymerization methods and maintained high thermal stability and non-toxic effect on vascular endothelial cells. The results showed that the poly(honokiol carbonate) serves as potential biomaterial for vascular applications. Further studies of expanding magnolol-based polymers will be also presented with their degradable properties and anti-oxidant effects. Our recent efforts in environment-friendly material led to the development of rechargeable polypeptide-based batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used for portable devices and electric vehicles but arose questions on environment effects because of the lithium ore processing and lack of recycle capability. The batteries composed of viologen polypeptide as anodes and biTEMPO polypeptides as cathodes showed stable performance during the operation and was degradable after usage. The degradation compounds were non-toxic based on cell viability testing. With the sustainable and degradable properties, the polypeptide batteries are promising alternative rechargeable batteries to improve the environment issues.
Soon Mi Lim received her B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Physical Chemistry at Inha University, Korea. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Texas A&M University in 2006 prior to postdoctoral research in Medical Physiology at Texas A&M Health Science Center. She joined the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University as a full-time lecturer in 2013 and promoted to an Instructional Associate Professor in 2021. She has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in general/analytical/physical chemistry and research ethics. Her excellence in teaching was recognized by the Association of Former Students College-Level Teaching Award in 2017 and the Provost Academic Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2020. Her recent contribution in collaborative research has been in vascular cell research, synthetic polymer for biomedical applications, and inorganic compounds for nitric oxide production in biomedical applications. Her earlier research was on spectroscopy for gas phase molecular dynamics and nonlinear spectroscopy for air/liquid and liquid/liquid interfaces. As an Associate Graduate Advisor, she is mentoring graduate students and developing professional development programs. She has been supporting science education in community by organizing and participating in Chemistry Open House, Saturday Morning Biophysics, Science Night at elementary schools, TAMU Science Talk Night at the Larry J. Ringer Library, and Korean Women in Science and Engineering.